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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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Distance Education Law Schools / Re: July 2013 Bar Exam Results
« on: May 28, 2014, 12:13:43 PM »
With regard to the CA bar specifically,  it has one of the lowest pass rates primarily because it permits anyone to sit for the bar irrespective of whether or not they graduated from an ABA accredited law school. Most other states, by contrast, only allow ABA grads to sit for their respective bar exams. When you compare ABA stats to ABA stats, it becomes apparent that California is not the "hardest bar exam in the country" that most think it is.

Take look at the statistics available on Calbar's site. Non-ABA grads made up a whopping 6% of first time test takers last February. If every single non-ABA grad failed, the effect would only be 6%.

Fully accredited ABA schools from out of state often have pass rates in CA that are 20-30%, even though their in state pass rates are 80-90%. The fact that CA has a tougher than usual bar exam is evidenced not by the handful of non-ABA grads who fail, but by the thousands and thousands of fully accredited ABA grads who fail.

I don't think it will make much difference. One semester on academic probation isn't great, but it's not that big of a deal either. I suspect you won't be the only applicant who has spent a semester on academic probation.

Your cumulative GPA is far more important than what you got one particular semester. You have to disclose it when you apply to law school, and again when you apply to the bar. Be honest, and don't make lame excuses. Take responsibility, and move on.

The best thing you can do at this point is to get the best possible LSAT score. Start preparing ASAP, and Good Luck! 

General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: ANXIETY!!!!!
« on: May 22, 2014, 02:42:51 AM »
So then if you got the job BEFORE law school, it didn't need a JD to get and thus not really a good comparison to what someone could do with just a JD.

No, at age 22 I was low man on the totem pole. My BOSSES had JDs. I was pushing paper while the JDs were negotiating $50 million distribution agreements. We were not on the same level. To move up in the organization a JD was considered a stepping stone, and would have been preferred over an MBA. 

I honestly believe that you had a BETTER chance with no JD than if you had applied with one and without a license. That middle ground screams "there is something wrong with me, I'm either not smart enough or not trustworthy enough"

I think for many jobs that's probably true. I can only speak for the ones I've had personal experience with, and it wasn't really the case.

Here's the thing:

A lot of people already have a position and want to move up in the ranks.  Some jobs require an MBA to do that, for others a JD makes more sense. So they go to law school at night, and it helps them get ahead. It's a way of saying "I'm serious and I want to get into management." I saw LOTS of people in the entertainment industry who were working at studios, in marketing, distribution, lobbying, representation agencies, etc., who were going to law school at night. In a situation like that bar admission is less of an issue.   

General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: ANXIETY!!!!!
« on: May 21, 2014, 07:58:00 PM »
No, we're talking six figure careers.

None of the positions I mentioned require you to dispense legal advice, so bar admission is not necessarily critical. Knowledge of the relevant law, however, is considered a huge asset.
But to clarify you WERE licensed when you applied right?

No, these were jobs I had before I went to law school (I had almost a decade between college and law school). When I worked in film marketing/distribution, most of my bosses had JDs. Some were licensed, some weren't, some were licensed in other states. It depended on what other qualifications they brought to the table.

In environmental consulting it's common for managerial level consultants to have a JD/M.S. in Environmental Science, Biology, Geology, whatever their specialty is. Same thing, some are licensed some are not.

The thing to keep mind is that in both situations people were not actually practicing law, so bar admission was secondary to knowledge. If someone did have experience practicing entertainment or environmental law, however, that would have been a plus.

The question isn't whether someone with a CBE degree can become President, Supreme Court Justice, or big firm partner. That's not what these schools are for.

The question is whether they have a realistic shot at passing the bar and practicing law. Are the bar pass rates lower than ABA rates? Yes, they are. Sometimes by a lot, sometimes by a little. I think this has more to do with the nature of the student body (working adults) than with some deficiency in the program.

Again, we're not talking about one or two individuals. Small firms, solo offices, and government offices in CA have lots of CBE grads. They only make up about 5% of all people taking the CA bar exam, but they are concentrated in those fields. In my area, probably 25% of the government attorneys are CBE grads.

I think you also have to distinguish between CA accredited schools and non-accredited schools. The non-accredited schools tend to have much lower pass rates, and much smaller classes.   

Where should I go next fall? / Re: Mercer vs FAMU
« on: May 21, 2014, 10:57:15 AM »
Personally, I would go for the least expensive option.

Mercer may be ranked higher, but it's not an elite school. Are the opportunities available to a Mercer student going to be significantly different from those available to a FAMU student? Is the Mercer "pedigree" going to open more doors?

You need to do a realistic cost/benefit analysis. If your choices were between FAMU and Duke, Emory, or even UGA it would be a tougher call. You need to do what's best for you, but seriously consider the implications of taking on a huge debt.

General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: ANXIETY!!!!!
« on: May 21, 2014, 01:58:46 AM »
No, we're talking six figure careers.

None of the positions I mentioned require you to dispense legal advice, so bar admission is not necessarily critical. Knowledge of the relevant law, however, is considered a huge asset.

Distance Education Law Schools / Re: ABA online law schools
« on: May 21, 2014, 01:41:18 AM »
I agree.

Concord has greater resources than any other online law school, regional accreditation, and has been lobbying for a shot at accreditation. They are the only ones who have any realistic chance at pulling it off.

The problem they face is bar pass rates. They need to get within 15% of the CA statewide ABA average. With a current pass rate of only 19%, they've got their work cut out. They need to get up to about 60% before they can apply for provisional accreditation (substantial compliance), and present a plan to bring the school into full compliance within 3-5 years.

This requires either attracting better applicants or being more selective in admissions (or both!). Better applicants, however, will almost always choose an ABA school. And if they get too selective, they don't make money.

It's a Catch-22.

Established schools that already have successful track records might start offering these hybrid programs, but I still we're a long way from a purely online school getting ABA approval. I just don't see the ABA approving a school with a 19% pass rate.


Distance Education Law Schools / Re: ABA online law schools
« on: May 20, 2014, 08:22:35 PM »
OK, here's the answer.

WM was approved for a variance from ABA standards. The thing I still find confusing is that the ABA article says the variance allows for 50/50 classroom and distance learning. Looking at the WM schedule, however, it looks like only one week per semester is in class. Maybe that week accounts for a higher number of credit hours?

Whether this means anything for schools like Concord remains to be seen. It looks like the ABA was willing to take the proposal from WM seriously because they were already an established school with a good track record.

It looks like this program would still be more or less limited to people in the immediate geographic region, unless they're willing to fly to MSP at the beginning and end of each semester.

I wonder how exams work? How do you know who's actually taking the exam?

Distance Education Law Schools / Re: ABA online law schools
« on: May 20, 2014, 06:36:15 PM »
What has me confused is that, as far as I know, the ABA still only allows 1/3 of the units to be counted towards the JD as DL. The rest must be in a traditional classroom.

I doubt if an established school like WM would launch a program that isn't ABA approved, but at the same time I'm not aware of any significant changes to the ABA's policy.

This could be the test case for online ABA education. If the bar pass rates are comparable to traditional programs, then who knows? The ABA currently requires that a law school's first time bar pass rate be within 15% of the statewide average. I was told that this may soon change to 10%. That means that the online program at WM will have to show pretty high bar pass rates in order to avoid bringing down the school's overall average.

I wonder if WM is being especially selective in who they admit in order to maximize pass rates and avoid attrition. Interesting. 

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